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Butylated Hydroxytoluene

Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)

What is it?

Butylated hydroxytoluene, commonly known as BHT, is an organic compound that is used in the food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industry as an antioxidant. BHT is a substituted derivative of phenol. BHT helps to prevent the formation of free radicals and oxidation. When used in food products, it delays oxidative rancidity of fats and oils, and prevents loss of activity of oil-soluble vitamins. It may be found in pharmaceutical gels, creams and liquid or gelatin capsules, tablets and other pharmaceutical dosage forms. The ability of oral BHT to lead to cancer is a controversial topic, but most food industries have replaced it with butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA). A large review from 2002 concluded that BHT is safe for use on the skin in cosmetics.

[1] Lanigan R. Yamarik T. Cosmetic Ingredient Review. International Jornal of Toxicology 2002;21(Suppl 20):19-94.

[2] National Library of Medicine. Haz-Map. Butylated hydroxytoluene. Accessed 1/14/2014. http://hazmap.nlm.nih.gov/category-details?table=copytblagents&id=393

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